By Dr. Samantha Larkin, ND- Associate Doctor and Manager of the Spark Health IV Program
The brain is often ignored in regular health maintenance. We can easily get caught up in clearing our skin, healing our gastrointestinal system, or getting our allergies under control, but how often do we think about protecting the amazing, three-pound supercomputer we carry inside our heads?
At Spark Health, we want our patients to experience less fatigue, improved memory, better energy levels, and enhanced mental focus. We want to help our patients prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Thus, we created the “Brain Power” IV- full of nutrients to support the brain, spinal cord, and nerves all around the body. Let’s talk about some of the “star” nutrients in this incredible IV.
KEY PLAYERS IN OUR “BRAIN POWER” IV-
B1 (thiamine)- has a nitrogen component that it donates for the production of neurotransmitters. In animal models and neuronal cell culture, thiamin deficiency has been associated with increased beta amyloid production, which is implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. 1 Thiamine levels were found to be lower in human patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease than in patients without these conditions. 2
B complex– contains Vitamin B5 (Dexpanthenol), which helps our bodies create the myelin sheath, the fatty insulation material covering nerves that helps signals travel efficiently. Deficiencies of dexpanthenol can manifest as numbness, tingling, burning, or fatigue. B complex also contains B6 (Pyridoxine), which is essential in producing norepinephrine and serotonin, important neurotransmitters in regulating mood and sleep.
5-MTHF (L-methylfolate) is the biologically active form of B9 (folate). The folic acid we ingest from food must be converted into Dihydrofolate (DHF), then to Tetrahydrofolate (THF), and then finally into L-methylfolate (5-MTHF) to be used in the body. It is estimated that more than half of the U.S. population has a genetic enzyme defect making it difficult to convert folic acid into its active form. 5-MTHF is a nutrient that aids in the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Deficiency in those neurotransmitters can contribute to anxiety, depression, dementia, and autoimmunity.
Taurine is known to be incredibly protective for the brain. It aids in the prevention of atherosclerosis and is protective against ischemic strokes. 3
L-carnitine– is known to support our nerves, brain, and heart. It has been shown to act as a building block for certain neurotransmitters needed for optimal cognitive functioning.4 Research also suggests that acetyl-L-carnitine supplementation may also improve mental function and reduce deterioration in patients with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.5
In the “Brain Power” IV, we deliver a therapeutic dose of all of the above nutrients as well as basic vitamins and minerals in order to help our patients feel the best. We top the IV off with a generous dose of glutathione (a powerful antioxidant) to further support the brain and body.6
1. Zhang, et al. Thiamine deficiency increases beta secretase activity and accumulation of beta amyloid peptides. Neurobiology of Aging (2009)
2. Gibson, G. E., Hirsch, J. A., Fonzetti, P., Jordon, B. D., Cirio, R. T., & Elder, J. (2016). Vitamin B1 (thiamine) and dementia. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1367(1), 21–30. http://doi.org/10.1111/nyas.13031
3. Menzie, J., Prentice, H., & Wu, J.-Y. (2013). Neuroprotective Mechanisms of Taurine against Ischemic Stroke. Brain Sciences, 3(2), 877–907.
4. White HL, Scates PW. Acetyl-L-carnitine as a precursor of acetylcholine. Neurochem Res 1990;15;597-601
5. Cristofano, A., Sapere, N., La Marca, G., Angiolillo, A., Vitale, M., Corbi, G., … Di Costanzo, A. (2016). Serum Levels of Acyl-Carnitines along the Continuum from Normal to Alzheimer’s Dementia. PLoS ONE, 11(5), e0155694.
6. Pocernich, C. B., & Butterfield, D. A. (2012). Elevation of Glutathione as a Therapeutic Strategy in Alzheimer Disease. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1822(5), 625–630